I have found in life that more often than not, fear is what most often stops me from getting from where I am to where I want to be. Three things that immediately spring to my mind are this blog/career choice, my weight, and ‘Future Melissa’. I have made many a bid at a short term plan only to be greeted by failure and discouragement. I blame the plan. I blame myself. I rationalize reasons why I don’t need or deserve whatever it was I was going for…but the more I analyze these dismal learning experiences, the more I see where they really come from. Being afraid. It doesn’t matter what I am scared of. If there is fear to be had, there is bound to be a roadblock.
Let’s start with this career move. My husband has been a central theme for me as I dip my toes into writing professionally, and there are many good reasons for that. For one, he is the biggest love in my life. He taught me the things I think I know about existing within a (kind of) successful monogamous relationship. But there’s more to it than that. He certainly isn’t the only experience I have in this life, but at this literal point in my short existence, he is the biggest timeline pin.
Adam, my husband, is a porn addict. It’s basically like being a sex addict, but without the fear of STDs. I still haven’t gotten to wanting to write a full-blown post about this, but again, I swear it’s coming. The night before we got married, he betrayed my trust severely. After fighting from then until 5 hours before our ceremony, we decided to get married anyway. A few months later, he betrayed me again, and the same level of argument consumed us. This ended with us deciding to tentatively stay together, and with Adam swearing he would devote himself to getting it under control. Along with this promise, a provision. That provision was that I quit my job as a hairdresser and stay home. If I am home, I can help him keep himself focused on what he wants to be focused on.
I was scared shitless to be totally at his mercy, but I agreed. In my terrified mind, I decided that I could take this shithole of a situation and make it into a positive life change. I always wanted to be a writer. I wanted that for myself as long as I knew how to read, write, and spell. 20+ years of yearning for the writer’s life. I was a newlywed, I didn’t want to be married for less than a year and give it up, so I put my relationship and my fleeting dreams in the front seat. That was month ago. What have I done in service of our relationship? Plenty. What have I done in service of my dreams? Just north of nada. Sigh. Wanna take a stab at what my roadblock is? You’d better believe it’s fear. Fear of failure, of being uncomfortable, of realizing I’m no good at the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted for myself…oh yeah. You bet. Scary stuff.
The next thing I mentioned was my weight. Now, I am by no means obese or in any kind of health trouble in regards to my weight, nor have I ever been. I am just one of those people who went from being kinda hot to being really average through a long, long…long stint of laziness. I used to work in a factory, date a type 1 diabetic, and get lots of exercise. Then, I went to beauty school. Then I met my husband and started eating out more. Long story short, that was 25-30 pounds.
I spend lots of time talking about how I want to get my weight in check, how I want to pick up yoga, pole dance, how I want to swim regularly…and I spend lots of time eating Wendy’s. I know what I need to do to get my weight back to where I want it. It isn’t too late. But I am afraid of taking something easy (takeout, delivery, chain restaurants.) and make it into something hard (home cooking, healthier options, finer dining…exercise?) It’s an unfounded fear, but it’s real nonetheless. Fear of change is one of the biggest fears out there, and maybe one of the most serious. It’s a fear I always tell myself I’m bigger than, but am I really?
The last thing I mentioned goes hand-in-hand with the first two. Future Melissa is someone I talk about all the time. She drives a cool car, makes a comfy 6 figure income, does yoga, swims, looks mad cute in trendy comfy clothes, loves coffee and wine…she is my ideal self.
I talk often about how important it is to have a strong vision of who you want to be, and allow that vision to change as it must so you can actually get there. I talk a big game about being self-aware and in control for someone who isn’t doing anything. There are a lot of things that I need to do to get from where I am now (lazy and scared) to where I want to be…
But there always seems to be a minor hurdle in my way of getting started. That hurdle always used to be the day job, but now that’s done. After the day job it was the stress impact the day job had on me. Then it was being sick. But I’m not sick anymore, and I don’t work a 9-5 anymore, and I have a really cute private home office space to use. So now what’s the problem? I’ve been forced to look inside myself for the real answer. It isn’t the little snippet of plastic over there by the window…and it isn’t the fact that my forearms rest awkwardly on my desk.
I spent the entire afternoon obsessing about whether or not I should get a different computer (I probably will) and allowing that be a reason why I couldn’t work. It stressed me out to a pretty extreme level, then I caught it. I stopped and watched myself. I was obsessing about a material item that is maybe important, but really has nothing to do with my well-being or my ability to make due as I had when I finished my manuscript. I needed a reason. That reason made it okay for me to continue to sit there binge-watching Friends instead of doing anything else. I could have been up in my office writing a blog post, editing the manuscript that is collecting cyber dust, working on the new story concept, working on a review for one of the books I have finished reading in the past few weeks, reading the book I have now, cleaning the living room, cleaning the pet cages, washing dishes…the list is literally endless. But there I was, on the couch, blaming the lack of a material object for my inability to be productive, watching Friends on Netflix, and low-key feeling sorry for myself.
So this is where it got really interesting for me. Mondays are the day that Adam is gone from 8am-10:45pm. It’s a long lonely day. It should be one of my most productive days of the week. It should be a day where I can tell him about all the awesome things I was able to accomplish on my new career path. But the couch had a warm imprint of my butt. I don’t like that. Future Melissa doesn’t like that, either. She isn’t getting any more real as Ross explains that they were on a break.
My break time was over. So I got up, came upstairs to the office, and wrote this post. Because that’s love for me here and now, even if it doesn’t feel as comfortable as the sofa. Even if it makes real the things I am afraid of. Even if it puts those fears right in front of my eyes, it’s still love. And love always has and always will be everything. Now Adam will be home any minute, and we are going to buy some healthy groceries.
Questions? Comments? Motivations? I’d love to hear them! Who is your future self?Thanks for listening, and the comment section is always open.